Friday, May 20, 2011

Leadbear feeds the Fence Habit!

I got a box today with more stuff from my buddy Barry. He sent me the swamp (see earlier post), an orchard, a hayed fields, a battery and a whole bunch of fencing...

My advice: never start the American Civil War collection because you never have enough fences. For that matter, trees either. But that habit was started when I started collecting the French & Indian War.

Here are some shots of the fences:

The phone is dead. Prescribed fire is done for now, rates are down's not Brooke's fault.

It's official, the phone is dead. A blast of water and the pictures are gone. That will teach me not to sync my phone after each fire. Oh well, the pictures weren't that great any way as I was busy in the last two doing interior ignitions.

Prescribed fire season is done for now. So no action until a deployment.

I have some training to look forward to in June. That's all for now on that on.

The photoshoots have picked up the slack. I have been busy trying to rent the house for some location shoots. Looks like I have six days booked with a possible two more. The possible is a good one: La-Z Boy Chairs and Brooke Shields. Business here is down, though. By now, I should have eight days completed and I be bargaining hard on the rates for the next five. This year, the rates have stunk worse than last year. Everyone is discounting the rates but I refuse to drop too far. Already there is no differentiation in the price for print versus film. CRAZY! The wear and tear on the house is enormous for film. If the rates fall too far, you're getting quick money but will pay in the long term. Even for the Brooke Shields' shoot I am loath to lower the rate too far.
Though she is hot! Maybe they would get further if she did the negotiating...

Wargaming is down.. I hope to have something to report soon...

Union Blue

Stan Johansen shipped me the Deadlands figures for Union Blue:

Now just to find time to get a game in...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jeff Valent Hacked

Jeff valent Studios (mentioned in my last post) was hacked. If you got a gift certificate, don't use it. I used mine for just a small amount over the $20.00. I figured they were trying to get customers back after some service issues. I'd had bad service some time ago.

Did the hacker hope people would provide CC details? JVS uses PayPal, so how does the theft work? Or did the thief divert any money generated? Or was it just malicious and giving out discounts to destroy the relationships?

Sorry, I'm a bit dense on how this one worked?

The short version, I used mine for a dollar or so over the certificate. I also challenged the transaction as soon as I found out.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week Sixteen...too much fire and a wet phone...

Busy week but very light on the gaming stuff. A rapid onset of Summer like weather has forced our hands on the prescribed fire. Usually we have a long and leisurely burn season. This year we have wet days interspersed with hot days (for Spring). As a result, We have been scrambling to get as many units done before the green makes it stop. Green is coming up faster than normal. This week we burned two more units. We were pushing for a third but the second unit is an extremely tricky one to burn and funky winds came in towards the end of the day. I have almost no photos as I was handling interior ignitions. That means I was lighting fires in between the main fire front and the backing fire (hold line). Essentially, it's not a role where I tend to have time to stop and snap some photos. I even had to scramble once. I did get some photos but my phone got wet. When it comes out of the rice bag, I am hoping there will be photos. I also took a video or two but did not get to see what they looked like. One was of a snappy fire whorl we had near one of our escape routes...really makes you stand up and take notice when the Fire Elemental begins to dance near one of your ways to the Safety Zone. Needless to say, we called off the third burn and sat at the burn site in case the strange winds brought some fire back to life. And we saved a life...a very cool turtle was saved by Bravo Squad. Hopefully the pictures will be recoverable.

The only down side of the fire thing has been the frenetic pace we have been burning has been taxing. When we are moving as fast as we have been, it tends to keep you at the heightened awareness levels. That in turn tends to tax you a bit. Usually prescribed fires are measured and almost mellow (to me anyway); but the pace we have been running at is on par with actual forest fire situations. The best part has been that the crew is mostly my crew, so I know how everyone works. They have only been slotting in a new person each time so the training and uncertainty that goes with a new guy is lessened.

I guess there is another down side: my fire work has gotten in the way of at least three Friday games at Mike's house because I have been either too far away to make the games or we have had to sit on the burn site due to weird weather coming up. Good news is we are almost done the prescribed fire units. One is getting burned today but I am off. They say two more units on Thursday, Friday or Saturday...there goes the game again if it hits Friday.

Gaming wise: Jeff Valent Studios what gives? After all of the strangeness in his business practices he is sending out gift certificates. In addition his website is reflecting units in stock. Lastly, I see another name attached to the finances section. Is this an attempt to revive the business and apologize to past customers or what? My daughter thinks I should use the gift certificate. I am a bit more leery. Perhaps I will place a small order for the one or two things I want from the collection that I could never get him to ship. Or maybe I will just order only as much as the gift certificate. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Projects Worked On:
American Civil War: I want to go to play Bull Run battlefield on the 150th anniversary this year. Any takers? Barring that, play battle. If I play it, I will use either one of the Peter Pig Brigade level rules (Mr. Lincoln's War or Civil War Battles) as I have enough units accomplished for a game. It would be fun to play with Guns at Gettysburg or Regimental Fire and Fury but I do not nearly have enough units finished. If I had been thinking ahead, I would have painted (or had Evil Bob paint) some regiments in the early war uniforms.
Fantasy/Dungeon Crawls: I started organizing my Dwarven Forge stuff into usable boxes. This might take some time...
Modern: NUTS! Fire in Korea arrived. Now I have no excuse not to finish basing the Korean War figures I painted. I have ROK's, US, NKPA and ChiComs all finished just in need of some basing. Hopefully, I can start reading this next week and get some games going on this one. It has been a long time coming as I have painted and built stuff over the years but never seem to hit the table. I'd also like to try a PBI version, too. Just for a contrast and compare.
Science Fiction/40K/Rogue Trader (not the RPG): I started organizing my mountain of Star Wars miniatures by faction.

Painting and Painters:
Twenty Orks; Two Wartraks and two Rogue Trader-era Dreads finished, based and put into my Ork army box.

I managed to get some reading in without falling asleep. First finished from my backlog was Wargames Illustrated, February--This issue was packed with Sudan articles, battle reports, etc. If you are ever going to play the Sudan, get this issue. The Sudan is not the favorite theater for me in the Victorian era, but the articles and gaming ideas were good. Needless to say, the art, painting, terrain and figure were great. Also in the magazine was a good article on creative basing which focused more on basing for the look of it ( one f my favorite topics) versus a slavish adherence to the rules. Ancients players would like the article on creating the tribes of Germania. There was a convention review of Fall In. Also an interesting article on the Very British Civil War--not for me, but I found the article quite good. Several Info-mercials were enclosed hiding as articles that I actually enjoyed: one about Col. Nick Lipscombe's book about The Peninsular war, Bunkers in WW2 and the USArmy 2nd Division. Frankly, I am OK with the WI infomercials; they have always been there and the really do tend to be a decent read.
My next magazine finished was the latest issue of Battle Games. It had it's usual host of Terrain Making, Mike Siggins and product reviews; all nicely done. I quite enjoyed the article on the WW1 British Army tactics and analysis. Although not really my "thing,," I also enjoyed the Grand Tactical Napoleonics rules analysis and the 1806 Big Battalion project. Henry Hyde did a small piece on Blitz Krieg Commander set in the Desert War hat was intriguing. The only article I did not enjoy was about Kreigspiels. All in all, I liked this issue. But, I am biased as I tend to enjoy Henry Hyde's offerings.